Tom Brady Thinks That Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction Was a “Good Thing for the NFL”

The quarterback is facing backlash over recent comments about the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show

Tom Brady attends the Los Angeles Premiere Screening of Paramount Pictures' "80 For Brady" at Regency Village Theatre on January 31, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Tom Brady attends the premiere of "80 For Brady" in Los Angeles on January 31.

Even though Tom Brady is officially retired (again), we can’t seem to stop talking about him. The former quarterback is facing criticism on social media this week after he described Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s infamous 2004 halftime “wardrobe malfunction” as something that was ultimately “a good thing for the NFL.”

Brady made the comments on a recent episode of his Let’s Go! podcast, reflecting on the New England Patriots’ 2004 Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers and the media frenzy surrounding Jackson and Timberlake’s performance. “I think in the end, it was probably a good thing for the NFL because everyone got to talk about it,” he said. “It was just more publicity and more publicity for halftime shows. Is any publicity bad publicity? That’s what they say, so who knows?”

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Of course, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is really only true if you happen to be a white man worth millions of dollars. As countless people pointed out on social media in response to Brady’s comments, women — and especially BIPOC women — face an unfair level of scrutiny compared to their male counterparts. And we all know how this one played out: Timberlake was celebrated, while Jackson was blacklisted by CBS and unfairly blamed for the incident. Her career suffered for years after the performance, and she was made to be a laughing stock.

Timberlake himself recognized this a few years ago and offered a (very belated) apology to Jackson, writing, “The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position, I have to be vocal about this. Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down ever again. I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career. I know this apology is a first step and doesn’t absolve the past. I want to take accountability for my missteps in all of this as well as be part of a world that uplifts and supports. I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and will do better.”

Perhaps Brady could take a page from Timberlake’s book and realize that just because something benefits him doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a “good thing” for everyone.

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